Britain and its Monarchy

I can’t wait to get out of this screwed up country (Britain). Why on earth does Britain STILL have a Monarchy? The Queen and the Monarchy are about as useless as my last excrement, seriously.

They practically rob us of our money and spend it on useless rubbish which they don’t need such as palaces.

Maybe if the whole royal family and the rest of the Monarchy would suddenly die things would be a lot better in this country as the money they wasted could be put to good use.

What are your thoughts on this?

The statistics are not quite as simple as either the monarchists or the republicans would have anyone believe. While it’s true that the monarchy does consume public monies, the amount spent is nothing like as large as you’d think, and there’s also the nebulous question of how much money they raise in tourism (a highly contentious question at best).

It doesn’t annoy me nearly as much as it used to. I can see the Royal Family becoming entirely self-sufficient within a generation or two as it becomes so irrelevant to the public that there’s no other alternative.

Doesn’t the Royal Family already have enough money that they could live off investments indefinatly, without requiring more tax pounds from the British public? And, in the point ** Crusoe ** raised, if they do bring in more money in tourism than they cost in taxes, then they are a good thing for the British public.

How much tourism money would be lost if the monarchy vanished?

Presumably you posted in this (GD) forum intentionally as opposed to IMHO ? Anyway …

Pointless slamming one thing unless you have a viable alternative; How about you lay out your ideas with two pre-requisites:

1 – Show how the UK will have a (replacement) Head of State - and all the attendant and necessary democratic checks and balances - that is no less than we currently have. In other words, lay out how you understand the Executive (you have in mind) will operate of itself at least as well and how the separate functions of State will work in relation to each other, and

2 – Show how your proposal – as money seems to be important consideration to you – is more cost effective.

Then we have something to discuss. Debates are funny, they work like that.

I know the English monarchs have the right to advice the PM, and I would presume the Parliament, London_Calling, but they really have enough power to be considered the Head of State. As a Yank, I would have thought that Tony Blair is the Head of State.

Whoops, I meant to insert a do before they.

Tony Blair IS technically, for all intents and purposes, head of state. The Queen’s role is largely honorary.

Good evening, Coyote and Guin. There’s an important bit of political science missing in what you folks said that we Americans overlook because both jobs are combined in the President: the separate jobs of the Head of Government and Head of State.

Most people see the Head of State job as a figurehead position, and there’s some truth in it – but “it’s important for what it doesn’t do,” so to speak. The loyalty and patriotism of the decent citizens is directed toward the state and the Head of State as its representative, not to the head of the government. In the case of a constitutional crisis, there are a half dozen or so residual powers that always vest in the Head of State, to be used only in such emergency situations – like dismissing the Head of Government when he refuses to resign and the Legislature refuses to support him, for example. Having the jobs separate also makes the task of a “man on horseback” in taking over the government entirely much more difficult – he not only has to become political leader but he has to convince people to abolish the separate job of Head of State and give that to him as well.

In addition, if the Head of State is elected for life or good behavior, or is a monarch, he or she builds up a fair amount of experience that is valuable to the decision-making process; his or her informal advice to the Government will not be disregarded by them.

In addition, the Head of State (and the Royal Family if you’re talking a monarchy) relieves the Head of Government of a lot of ceremonial but important duties. The Head of State has just got to show up at stuff like the opening ceremonies for the Olympics his country is hosting, the dedication of a memorial that commemorates something dear to his country’s heart, etc. It’s useful if that’s not also the guy who is keeping the government running on an even keel – the Head of Government.

Finally, having a separate Head of State makes the job of the other party much easier. It’s tough to draw the line between GWB as head of the Republican Administration, to whom all Democrats, Libertarians, and Greens owe a principled loyal opposition, and GWB as the President behind whom all Americans need to rally in time of crisis. And unscrupulous Presidents of both parties have in the past made that trick nigh onto impossible by “switching hats” on the Opposition. It’s much easier to make speeches in opposition to Tony Blair or John Major while standing foursquare for Queen and Country.

You’ll find that most of the European Parliamentary monarchies and republics preserve this distinction for precisely these reasons, though in some cases (e.g. Sweden) the residual political power is absent or negligible.

E2R does have a significant job to do, although I think it’s a reasonable question whether a cost/benefit analysis on the Monarchy would be favorable.

Thank you, Poly, but what else can the British monarch do? I know Queen Elizabeth can advise PM and Parliament if she chooses to do so, but does she have any other constitutional powers?

The Queen’s Prerogative Powers. Note that everything on this list, she will ordinarily do only on the advice of her ministers – but she does have discretion. Over in GQ I posted a link where the Governor General of Australia, acting in her name, refused a dissolution to the PM when Parliament would not pass his budget, and offered the PM-ship to the Leader of the Opposition. That was, in fact, his best judgment of what the good of the country demanded of him.

New Zealand Cabinet Manual. 1.4 to 1.6 cover what the Governor General can do in the Queen’s name.

An interesting document which outlines the Queen’s role and discusses what might be done to reform it.

Her powers are not constitutional but are a vast collection of things that she could potentially do because one of her predecessors did it and nobody’s passed a law prohibiting her from doing it. She could theoretically fire Tony Blair, appoint Graham Norton as P.M., veto any bill passed by parliament, and declare war on the U.S., Russia, China, and Lichtenstein, all on her own authority. Obviously she would not last long if she actually did all that, but it’s within her legal rights to do it.

The Prime Minister is not the head of state for any intent or purpose, not even arguably. Polycarp has got it exactly right. Who is head of state is not a question of who wields political power: often the head of government is far more politically powerful than the head of state, just as the British Prime Minister generally gets far more say in running the nation than does the Crown. But there is a clear differentiation between the two roles, and the distinction in the United Kingdom’s case is as clear as any. The distinction is explored in some detail in a recent thread in GD, France has both a president and a prime minister.

Well, I’ll be damned. I had no idea the British monarch was so powerful. Thanx for the links.

Now I find myself wondering: Do the people of the UK really want Gnarly Charlie as King if a monarch can do all that? I think I would prefer William.

Sorry, I meant GQ, not GD.

King Charles III (although the betting is he will take the title of George VII) will be a prefectly servicable Head of State - in many ways better than QEII in my opinion. He seems to be doing a better job of being a Dad (apart from when he was cheating on his wife maybe ;-)) - in particular how he handled his youngest son’s drug bust. His heart seems to be in the right place on social issues, considering his background.

And as my comment on the original thead - the monarchy is our final defence against an elected dictatorship and as such a vital block in our constitution arrangements and in those functions a force for the better. An elected president (in a system still having a Prime Minister) would not be able to act so independently.

If dopers are surprised by the power the Queen has (in the last resort) they should see what the Prime Minister can do with virtually no checks whatsoever. If we had a political system like the US we would not be headed towards war as a US ally that’s for sure (although also unlikely to line up on the other side either ;-)!)

Concentrating on things like cost, privilage (how would volunteer for that job?! No thanks!) misses the point - as was excellently picked up immediately to my pleasure when I checked out this thread.

Yes they do, but they have to give it to the Government. According to the cite below, they received £35 million and gave away £148 million last year. So even before tourism we are actually making money out of them.

Key spending figures and civil list payments

Please don’t go, the country will collapse without you.

I used to be anti-royal as a kid, but came to realise that my position was based on inverted snobbery rather than reason. Now I like the fact that we have an apolitical head of state. Until a sensible alternative comes along I don’t see any need for change. Remember that a President would cost just as much (and be less of a tourist attraction).

The monarchy is a constitutional position that is well worth the investment in economic and diplomatic terms.

Think about it as well - if we didn;t have a monarchy we’d simply have a drab President, who would spend similar if not greater amounts, and would be far less of a diplomatic and economic asset.

Also note that the biggest watse of taxpayers money is by politicans, notably through subsidies to companies - the rail network is a particular glaring example of extreme waste.

The monarchy is a constitutional position that is well worth the investment in economic and diplomatic terms.

Think about it as well - if we didn;t have a monarchy we’d simply have a drab President, who would spend similar if not greater amounts, and would be far less of a diplomatic and economic asset.

Also note that the biggest watse of taxpayers money is by politicans, notably through subsidies to companies - the rail network is a particular glaring example of extreme waste.

The monarchy is a constitutional position that is well worth the investment in economic and diplomatic terms.

Think about it as well - if we didn;t have a monarchy we’d simply have a drab President, who would spend similar if not greater amounts, and would be far less of a diplomatic and economic asset.

Also note that the biggest watse of taxpayers money is by politicans, notably through subsidies to companies - the rail network is a particular glaring example of extreme waste.

Polycarp you have the patience of …well … a saint. But of course you do ! Thanks for outlining the constitutional position so eloquently.
Fwiw, I think the job is worth almost any money. I’m buggered if I’d have my family and myself put in their position 24/7 for their entire lives.

Btw Widegren, when you do get around to outlining your non-emotional, highly rational alternative constitutional arrangement it might be more convincing (at least to me) if you kept a non-party political figure as the Head of State. What ya got in mind, Sir Elton John ?

Iirc, the present Queen’s first PM was Churchill, although one assumes he advised her more than she him. Times change. One would think Tony Blair - as a rational person - would find it difficult to ignore 50 years of job experience, diplomatic connections and know-how. How much, if anything, do you think that might be worth in your cost/benefit analysis ?

Was it Oscar Wilde who said about someone of his acquaintance (that he/she) “knew the price of everything and the value of nothing” ?